The Original 'Fake News' Story that Was Used to Call for the Suppression of Independent Media Critics
November 30, 2016
PropOrNot.com & RT News
In an unprecedented attack on free speech, independent media, political and social criticism, a prominent mainstream newspaper has chosen to sacrifice its journalistic reputation by promoting a mysterious entity called "PropOrNot" hoping to blacklist scores of prizewinning, respected online news sites as "agents of Russian propaganda." An identical attack, underway in Europe, has been condemned by the president of International Federation of Journalists. Could this all be a government intelligence operation?
Is It Propaganda Or Not?
PropOrNot.com -- Your Friendly Neighborhood
Propaganda Identification Service, Since 2016!
The List: An Initial Set of Sites That Reliably Echo Russian Propaganda
(November 9, 2016) -- We have used a combination of manual and automated analysis, including analysis of content, timing, technical indicators, and other reporting, in order to initially identify (“red-flag”) the following as Russian propaganda outlets.
We then confirmed our initial assessment by applying whatever criteria we did not originally employ during the red-flag process, and we reevaluate our findings as needed.
Please note that our criteria are behavioral. That means the characteristics of the propaganda outlets we identify are motivation-agnostic.
For purposes of this definition it does not matter whether the sites listed here are being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers, or whether they even knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If they meet these criteria, they are at the very least acting as bona-fide "useful idiots" of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further scrutiny.
We assess that this overall Russian effort is at least semi-centralized, with multiple Russian projects and influence operations working in parallel to manage the direct and outsourced production of propaganda across a wide range of outlets. It is data-driven, and rewards effective entrepreneurship and innovation with increased funding and other resources.
There are varying degrees of involvement in it, and awareness of involvement. Some people involved seem genuinely unaware that they are being used by Russia to produce propaganda, but many others seem to know full well.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
More detailed analysis is ongoing:
'Journalistic Garbage': Greenwald and Others Slam WashPost for 'Insane' Russian Propaganda Story
Russia Today News receives financial support from the Russian government]
(November 25, 2016) -- Glenn Greenwald, along with other journalists, has unleashed a torrent of criticism at The Washington Post over a piece about Russia leading a "fake news" campaign during the US election, calling it a "disgusting" smear and "supremely shitty" garbage.
The Washington publication, at one time hailed for its role in exposing the Watergate Scandal, has now been rounded on by a number of well-known figures from the media industry for publishing the article.
Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, significant in bringing Edward Snowden's US security revelations to the public, labeled the story "total journalistic garbage".
In a series of tweets, Greenwald said the websites listed by chief source PropOrNot were smeared without any evidence by a group hiding its own identity.
Greenwald also indicated that the Washington Post piece is an example of how it has become "100 percent permissible -- bordering on obligatory -- to spout the most insane, evidence-free conspiracy theories if they involve Russia & Putin."
Key criticisms levelled against the article are that it was based on a Cold War think tank source and a report by dubious, anonymous researchers. It's also been slammed for a failing to critically evaluate a blacklist of publications that supposedly comprise a "sophisticated" Russian propaganda machine.
New York based journalist Adam Johnson scolded the Washington Post for "uncritically" publishing the story without asking "who's behind it."
EU Neither Specified Propaganda,
Nor Gave Russian Media Right to Defend
-- IFJ President to RT
(November 26, 2016) -- The EU's attack on Russian media with its recent "anti-propaganda" resolution was grossly unfair and goes against the principles of free speech and ethical journalism, Philippe Leruth from the International Federation of Journalists told RT.
On Wednesday the European Parliament voted to pass a resolution to "respond to information warfare by Russia." In a report written by Polish MEP Anna Fotyga, RT and Sputnik news agency were singled out as being among the most dangerous "tools" of "hostile propaganda."
o get his opinion on the matter, RT reached out to Philippe Leruth, president of the International Federation of Journalists (IJF).
RT: Why was this resolution discussed in the first place, never mind passed?
PL: I really couldn't know this, but I know this resolution is highly controversial – only 44 percent of the MEPs voted in favor. There were many abstentions, which shows there was a big discussion. But we couldn't really understand this.
RT: What exactly is the fear? Are we right now warping the fragile minds of European readers? What do they worry about?
PL: We really don't believe that you can counter propaganda, because they say there is propaganda, I should not say this, but if there is propaganda don't fight it with propaganda. We believe in ethical journalism, in media literacy and in responsible journalism, and not that way.
RT: The word 'propaganda' gets thrown around an awful lot. Was there any evidence or a description of what propaganda is, or did they give an example of how the Russian media isn't telling the truth?
PL: No, I couldn't say on what it was based. At least, when you name a media by name, which is highly unusual, first of all you should give them the right to defend themselves, and second, you should show exactly what you mean by saying they are doing propaganda.
RT: What about the timing? Why do you think this initiative was discussed at this particular moment in time?
PL: Well, I find it very unfortunate because as we said, the International Federation of Journalists, which I am chairing from June this year, and its European Branch, we have been working on dialogue between Russian and so-called western journalists.
There were several meetings that year and one will be held in Moscow in December with the support of the EU delegation in Russia. So it's very difficult to understand why the European parliament took this initiative, which is jeopardizing this dialogue.
RT: The actual resolution itself was fascinating because it says the EU is still committed to democracy, media freedom and media pluralism. How can you limit freedom and give it at the same time?
PL: We have one principle which is very clear. In journalism, facts are sacred, comments are free. So as long as you are reporting ... the facts ... [accurately] you are free to have an opinion. That's freedom of expression.
So once again, if they considered the details of this resolution and considered [that] the media had not described the facts the right way, they should one, have shown on what occasion, and two, had invited them to defend themselves.
RT: Do you think there is an anti-Russian narrative existing in the West, in Europe particularly?
PL: Well, I wouldn't dare myself to have such an opinion. Evidently, there are tensions, there are problems between Russia and the European Union. There were sanctions and there were counter-sanctions, but I am not a politician, I will not comment on this.
I will state this state of tensions exists, but what bothers us is that in this very particular case media are incriminated, and we as a federation of journalists, we are defending the journalists, and we are promoting dialogue. Once again, we may work in different countries but we have one profession based on the same ethical principles.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.